that student. But I just have to write something about LouAnn. Low IQ LouAnn.
Have any of you had students like her? She could only show up in places like my CC, where we have no entrance requirements. If she were not enrolled in my Comp II/Lit class, I would think she was adorable and sweet. Because she is adorable and sweet.
LouAnn, you sit in the front row, and look at me with enthusiasm while I lecture. Or at least, you did, in the beginning, while you still had hope. It took me a while to get the fact that God left you out when he was doling out smarts. I don't know why this happens, LouAnn. I don't know why some people are simply not born with the ability to think complex thoughts. But I know it is real. I know that IQ matters. I wonder what your IQ might be, and I think it might be 80 or less.
LouAnn, you cannot ask me questions that will help you, because your understanding of my assignments or exam questions is so limited, you have no idea what to ask. You do not understand when I try to feed you the right questions. When you came to see me during my office hours to tell me you could not understand this most recent assignment, my office mate looked sadly at both of us and mouthed "I'm sorry" at me as I sat down next to you. How to help, what to say? You don't understand anything. You try so hard. You want to understand so badly. But you don't get it. You tell me you want to work with the poem "Harlem" for your research essay. "Okay," I say, "let's look at it. How does Hughes express his anger, his frustration in this poem?" You look at me blankly. You have no idea what I mean. "Do you see," I ask, "the similes we talked about in class? Do you see the metaphor at the end?" I try to walk you through it. You are not getting it. This is very simple stuff. This is stuff we talked about on the first day of the poetry unit. LouAnn, you already came to see me about this exact thing, three weeks ago. But I know why you are back....you didn't understand, you still don't understand, and the assignment is going to be due soon. LouAnn, you are going to fail your exam big time, and you do not understand this research essay at all. I realize I have been sitting quietly, just waiting and thinking sadly about your situation. I wonder again who gave you a C in your Comp I class. I'd like to kill that person.
You brighten just a little. "Did you say you wanted us to find a book?" I droop. "Yes, LouAnn, you do need to use at least one non fiction book from the library for this assignment:" "A book about something....about Harlem?" Your voice lilts up at the end of this question, hopefully.
You are not a fool, LouAnn. You are not being difficult. You are not lazy. You are simply not bright enough to be here. You are not deserving of being mocked. I am not mocking you. I am very sad about you. I cannot understand what it is about our society that forces people like you to come to college, that encourages you. Who told you "you can do it if you work hard enough!" Who told you that? Because it is a nice idea, but it is not always true.